Where Animation Jobs Exist
A career in animation will usually dictate where you live. Animation jobs exist all over the world, but studios are usually concentrated in large cities where an entertainment industry exists. Depending on the type of lifestyle you enjoy, this may or may not become an issue.
It’s amazing how many animation students and grads I’ve met that know they will have to leave their home town to work in animation but can’t bring themselves to actually move when the time comes to look for a job. If you are planing to have a career in animation and you live in an area that has no industry, you will likely have to move if you want to work in a production studio.
If you do prefer to live a more quiet lifestyle in a smaller community such as a town, village, or smaller city away from all the hustle and bustle of a big city, you may choose to live in the outskirts of a large city and commute to work every day. There is some animation work in quiet rural areas but they are few and far between.
Keep in mind that if you choose to live in the outskirts and commute into the city and back, you could be in transit for extended periods of time every day. I used to commute to Toronto everyday from the outskirts – it isn’t always a bad thing, in fact a lot of people love it. You can sit on a train or bus with your laptop and get work done or catch up on rest. This way you can have your preferred house and neighborhood, but still work in the industry and job you love. Usually folks with families and children will opt for this lifestyle. But I’ve met others who just grew up in quieter communities and this is simply the preference.
But if you’re young and single, (or you grew up in a city and it’s your preference) you might enjoy living and working downtown – taking in the nightlife and excitement. You won’t need to commute far to work and all shopping and entertainment is usually within walking distance. The cost of living will be higher but it’s offset by less commuting cost, and no need for a vehicle (a very big cost).
Something to keep in mind…since most animators work on contract it is ideal to be in an area with a high concentration of studios so you can bounce from one studio to the next and stay employed throughout the year.
In Canada the main cities that have a high concentration of studios are Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. All three of these cities have lots of studios that produce animation for TV series, feature film, vfx and gaming, and are great places to live and maintain an animation career.
Other Canadian cities include Ottawa and Edmonton with a hand full of studios. Quebec, Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, Charlottetown and Fredericton have some, but very little animation work.
In the United States the hot spots are California, New York and Texas actually has a few. There is some work in Colorado as well. Other places through out Europe and South America have animation studios. An interesting one operates from the middle of the Indian Ocean – Weta Digital in New Zealand. They do high end visual effects work for feature films, your favorite blockbusters. (Lord of the Rings films, Iron Man, Furious 7, Batman vs Superman…)
There are smaller studios all over the place, but they can start up and shut down frequently so it’s not easy to keep track of where they are. A good place to find studios is Mandy.com, Animation World Network (aidb.com) or do Google Map searches similar to this “Winnipeg animation studio”. (ie .the place, and animation studio) will bring pretty good results, and you can see the locations on the map and get to the websites by clicking on the red map pins.